Everything tastes better grilled, right? Our sweet & spicy grilled chicken drumsticks recipe is full of bright Asian flavors! We start with a citrus soy marinade then grill it to sear in the juicy flavor!
You’ve got to love a low-fuss grilling recipe that can be prepared in advance of your barbecue! A Thai inspired marinade makes simple chicken drumsticks a barbecue showstopper! It’s citrusy, sweet, and spicy and makes advance prep work easy!
I love grilling season! There isn’t a food I haven’t managed to throw on the grill. I dream up stuff like grilled pineapple salsa and grilled cherry sauce just for an excuse to fire up the grill. But of course I make normal recipes too, like grilled apple pork chops and grilled lamb kabobs.
Everything tastes better grilled, right? Take ordinary chicken drumsticks for instance… douse them in marinade, let time do it’s magic and then light those glorious flames! There’s the view (my grill overlooks my vegetable and herb gardens), the ice cold beverage in your hand (mojitos have been my drink of choice lately) and the smell of luscious chargrilled meat!
Sounds like a dream, right? That’s because I’m living the life!…Well, mostly. I’ll be honest…my view includes the groundhog I have yet to catch (humanely of course), my house that needs a major paint job and a yard that needs lots of weeding…. but simple pleasures like a nice barbecued dinner are within my grasp.
Luckily, this recipe for Sweet & Spicy Grilled Chicken Drumsticks is super easy. It’s loaded with fresh ingredients like ginger and orange but also Asian ingredients you have in your pantry like soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and dried chili. Oh and dark brown sugar because drumsticks are better when they get your fingers sticky! You know the drill…take a bite, smack you lips, lick your fingers…
The marinade takes just minutes to make. I use my blender to create a orange marinade that smells of citrus and spice and the hardest part is pouring it over the chicken knowing you have to wait for it to soak in.
But that’s why this is an ideal summer recipe. You can make it for parties, knowing your prep is done in advance. But it also makes easy work of weeknight dinners because you can cut the chicken in half and add veggies for a healthy dinner.
A dinner that makes the most of summer’s simple pleasures. Remember that cocktail in one hand, tongs in the other? And during that time I’m not thinking about my worries… I’m listening to the den of insects in the trees, watching the lightning bugs flashing in the yard and taking in the smoky scent of dinner.
It’s a time to savor not just the act of barbecuing, but also a time for reflection. You know…contemplating life’s big questions like what I’ll cook when the tomatoes are ripe, thinking about whether I have a green enough thumb to attempt growing ginger…and if I happen to have have company while I’m grilling, hopefully we can swap garden stories and I’ll make a pitcher of mojitos. You see, something about grilling stops time…or maybe it’s just the chaos of life. You slow down a little bit even if it’s just for a half hour.
The reward for your barbecuing zen is a plate of delicious, tender chicken drumsticks that taste fresh like summer. There’s the heat of peppers, the tang of hand squeezed orange and yeah, your hands will be sticky with the sweet sauce of your labors. So good you’ll want it to stay summer forever!
Sweet & Spicy Grilled Chicken Drumsticks
- 1 orange
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 dried Thai or Sichuan peppers
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (vegetable, canola. light olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 10-12 chicken drumsticks
- prepared marinade
- sliced limes
- sliced chili peppers
- Zest and juice the orange.
- Place the orange juice and zest in a blender along with the rest of the marinade ingredients.
- Blend the ingredients until a smooth marinade forms.
Grilled Chicken Legs
- Combine the marinade and chicken legs in a large zip top bag and marinate at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Grill over indirect heat, basting the chicken every 7-10 minutes.
- When the chicken is almost done (around 140-150 F) stop basting the chicken.
- Move the chicken legs over direct heat until it reaches 165F
- Serve chicken on a platter and garnish with limes, cilantro and chili peppers.
- Makes about 2-1/2 cups marinade.
- This marinade is also great on veggies, so feel free to cut the amount of chicken in half and add veggies for a weeknight family dinner.
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